Stretching a Canvas

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You have chosen the perfect frame for your painting, but before you frame it you have to stretch the painting. The act of stretching the painting is important for the stability and appearance of your painting. The first thing you need to do is purchase stretcher bars that correspond to the size of your painting as well as a staple gun or small tacks and a hammer. When stretching, it is crucial that the stretcher bars form a perfect square/rectangle.

Lay your canvas, paint side down on a very clean surface so the painting does not get damaged. Center the stretcher frame on top of the painting and then begin by folding the canvas over one of the short sides of the stretcher frame. Staple it to the center of the strip of wood. Then go to the opposite side and using canvas pliers, grab the canvas and pull it gently to create a crease in the center of it. Keeping that crease and tension in tact, staple the canvas to the strip of wood. Repeat this process for the other two sides.

Once all four sides are stapled, use the canvas pliers to grab the canvas on either side of the center staple and staple there. Repeat for all sides. This way you will have three staples on each side of the frame. The final step is to fold the material at the corners neatly and tuck them in and staple them.

It is important that the painting be stretched fully and properly. Otherwise, the painting will sag in the middle. Once stretched you can move on to framing and enjoying the beautiful work of art you have brought home.

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